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   My next-door-desk neighbor and onetime suburban resident Steve Watson suggested today's column idea about how to tell if you're a suburbanite. He also offered several lines, most of which were stereotypical and mean-spirited. (And funny.)    Many of the ones in the column apply to me and to other suburbanites I know. For example, I have a refrigerat…

  The doughnut war is raging and the new battle front is in Cheektowaga.    Doughnut distributors are constantly scouting the best locations for new stores - which often means the busiest traffic intersections. And, when enough donut-hungry drivers spot the new store, it's not unusual to see a line of vehicles stretching out into the street and causing a…

    Time is winding down on the competition to design and build two sculptures for the Village of Hamburg roundabouts.    The sculptures are budgeted at about $50,000 each, with construction planned for roundabouts at Main and Buffalo streets and  Main and Prospect Avenue and Buffalo Street. Two others have already been commissioned for the …

  Years ago, I read an article about the New Trier school district in a wealthy Chicago suburb where pretty much every kid who had a license drove to school. The school didn't have enough room for all the cars and parking was limited in the adjacent neighborhood.    So some parent with way too much money contacted a person who owned a home near the sch…

   Any day Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Anthony J. Billittier can get people to wash their hands is a good day at the office for him.    And when he was met by an overflow crowd of school officials Wednesday eager to hear an update on the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Billittier warmed up the audience.    "Nothing …

  To sum up political season in the region's largest suburbs ...    As of January, there will be no Republicans on the Tonawanda Town Board, completing a seismic power shift in what had been an historically Republican town.    Democrats = Cheektowaga.    Orchard Park voters liked Mary Travers Murphy enough to elect her supervisor two …

   We spend a lot of time around here getting the skinny on the men and women running for office in the 'burbs. The stories about who the candidates are and what they stand for in every elected job from town supervisor to assessor are a staple in the paper at this time of year.    But when the polls close Tuesday night, we'll marvel at how few votes ar…

     My daughter is learning to drive, so I decided last week to see how she would handle the ultimate test: Transit Road in East Amherst on a Saturday afternoon.    It made me think of the streets and roads I'm always trying to avoid, either all the time - Main Street in Williamsville - or some of the time - the 290/90 interchange at the Big Bl…

       At a Town Board meeting last week, Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan launched an angry tirade about the nature of "dirty politics" in response to accusations by political opponents that he was adding patronage jobs to his 2008 budget.    Mohan said in commentary edited below:    "Has politics become so dirty th…

  Although the Clarence School Board is "nowhere near" ready to make a decision on artificial turf for the high school playing fields, Superintendent Thomas Coseo recently said the issue will start moving front and center during either the Nov. 19 or Dec. 10 board meetings.    "We owe it to them to at least start discussing it," Coseo sa…

   Buffalo Crushed Stone's lawyer, Craig A. Slater, has one answer for critics who live near the company's quarry on Como Park Boulevard: "We got here first."    That's right. The limestone mining company was there long before the folks who moved in around it. To be fair, company reps also say their activities fall well within the state's env…

   So how much is an elected official worth?    The question makes a great opening line for any number of jokes, but the underlying issue deserves some serious consideration.    In today's Bufalo News, we have a story regarding the controversy surrounding Supervisor Satish Mohan's $75,000 salary, and a resolution passed by the Amherst Town B…

   A study commissioned by Erie County found no justification - based on state criteria, anyway - for keeping traffic signals at three Town of Tonawanda intersections: two on Elmwood Avenue and one on Colvin Boulevard.    Even the town police chief said he didn't foresee a safety problem if they were replaced with stop signs on the side streets. To the…

   Because of the way electrical power is organized by grids, National Grid spokesman Steve Brady said last week that it would be impossible to say whose power was out the longest during the October storm. He was pretty sure, however, that it had to be somewhere in Snyder.    I asked around informally and heard many people say they were without power o…

   With immigration a hot topic, the use - and some say, abuse -of migrant labor by Western New York farmers is equally controversial.    Agriculture industry representatives say migrants are essential to bringing in the crops, since locals have no interest in the temporary, minimum wage jobs. But enforcement of immigration laws often means even a migr…